Plan Your TripBarbecue ItineraryWine Weekend ItinerarySolo Trip ItinerarySanta Maria Valley Heritage ItineraryOutdoor Adventure ItineraryFamily Time ItineraryLodging SpecialsAbout Santa Maria ValleyGetting HereWeather in Santa Maria Valley Book A Room Geography Santa Maria Valley is nestled along the northern perimeter of Santa Barbara County on California’s Central Coast. The Valley is approximately 21 square miles in size and lies 220 feet above sea level. It is located 170 miles north of Los Angeles and 270 miles south of San Francisco. The Santa Maria Valley itself sits between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It includes the cities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe, as well as unincorporated Orcutt. You can learn more about getting to Santa Maria Valley here. History The beginnings of Santa Maria Valley’s development date back to the adventurous era of Spanish land grants and ranchos. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in the valley in 1542, and the Portola exploration party passed through in 1769. The Spanish church eventually choose two sites to the north and southwest for missions: Mission San Luis Obispo and La Purisima Conception, both of which are still standing today. The 19th century saw California gain statehood, while the Santa Maria Valley blossomed as one of the most agricultural regions in the state. Thus, the City of Santa Maria became incorporated in 1905 as the community hub of the valley. Today, the City of Santa Maria is home to a rich mix of both agriculture and retail. New industries including aerospace, communications, research, energy production, and manufacturing are also on the rise. The Santa Maria Valley Experience With claims to fame in both historic barbecue and renowned wine, visitors to our valley can often let their tastebuds guide them to a true Santa Maria Valley experience. When you’ve had just about all of the wine and barbecue you can take, head outdoors to the famous Guadalupe-Nipomo dunes, or take a stroll through one of our picturesque parks. Our valley is also rich in arts and culture. Visitors can catch an entertaining theatre production or stop by one of our charming art galleries. Above, all, the Santa Maria Valley experience is about being comfortable, having fun, and being yourself. We welcome our visitors like old-time friends and feed them like family.